Credit for Prior Learning

Earn Credits for what you know. Save $1,600-$6,000 on average.

Earn College Credits for What You Know

You have the opportunity to earn credit for knowledge or skills that you've acquired outside of a traditional academic environment, such as learning acquired from:

  • Work and life experiences
  • Community and volunteer extension courses
  • Individual study and reading
  • Civic, community and volunteer work
  • Participation in informal courses and training sponsored by associations, business, government or industry

How Prior Learning is Evaluated

If you can demonstrate that you've mastered the required competencies of a course through a prior learning assessment (PLA), you can earn college credit. Credit is reviewed and awarded on a case-by-case basis and awarded for a particular course. The learning must:

  • Be college-level
  • Be applicable to your declared course of study
  • Meet or exceed a "C" grade

Forms of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA):  

Students can earn credit for taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams (administered by The College Board) and earning a score of 3, 4 or 5. The evaluation is based on a copy of the score report received from the issuing agency. Transfer credit is not awarded for Advanced Placement if the student has completed equivalent coursework. See AP courses FRCC accepts. For more information on earning AP credit, visit The College Board

CLEP (the College-Level Examination Program) and DSST (DANTES Subject Standardized Test) are credit-by-examination programs that allow you to earn credit for college courses by taking and passing exams in various subject areas.

CLEP and DSST credits are accepted as part of a degree - with or without designation - at participating colleges in Colorado, including FRCC. Credit is not awarded if the student has completed equivalent coursework. We recommend talking with an advisor prior to taking CLEP or DSST exams.

Students can earn credit for taking Excelsior College examinations, although credit awarded may vary depending on the specific examination. The evaluation is based on a copy of the score report received from the issuing agency. Transfer credit is not awarded for Excelsior College Examinations if the student has completed equivalent coursework. See courses FRCC accepts. For more information about earning credit by taking Excelsior College examinations, visit Excelsior College

Take a challenge exam developed and evaluated by college faculty. The exam is equivalent to the comprehensive exam that assesses all competencies/outcomes of the course. The format of the exam is at the discretion of the faculty and may be written, oral, demonstration or a combination of all three.

Students can earn credit for taking International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations and earning a score of 4 or better. The evaluation is based on a copy of the score report received from the issuing agency. Transfer credit is not awarded for IB examinations if the student has completed equivalent coursework. See IB courses FRCC accepts. For more information about earning credit for IB exams, visit International Baccalaureate Organization.

For information about transferring military training credit, visit Veteran Services. For information about transferring any other type of credit, contact the advising department at your campus.

Some online courses from commercial providers such as Straightline, Pearson, Saylor, Ed4Online, etc.may be eligible for transfer credit into FRCC. See courses FRCC accepts from these providers.

Submit a portfolio of your work to be evaluated by college faculty. Portfolios may include any of the other PLA Credit methods, individual skills demonstrations, and/or narratives documenting learning. Prior learning submitted in a portfolio must:

  • Be demonstrable
  • Include both theoretical and applied components
  • Be at the college level
  • Be equivalent to a specific college course or courses in the student’s program of study

Next Steps

  1. Apply to FRCC with a declared course of study.
  2. Contact either the appropriate FRCC academic department or speak with a Pathways Advisor at your chosen campus to start the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process.
  3. Pay the assessment fee ($45 per credit for Institutional Challenge Exam; $65 per credit for a portfolio) 

Learn more about PLA requirements in the college catalog. 

Contact Advising
Boulder County Campus

(303) 678-3722 | Email us

Larimer Campus

(970) 204-8332 | Email us

Westminster Campus

(303) 404-5000 | Email us

Brighton Center

(303) 404-5099 | Email us

Online Learning

(303) 404-5513 | Email us